January 9, 2012 Subject:
April 1966 in Vietnam
DAK TO - On April 17, 1966 part of the 25th Infantry Division prepare to launch Operation Longfellow. They head via helicopter to LZ Ohio. One of the goals of the Operation is to resettle some Montagnard tribesmen to a Dak To resettlement camp. The Viet Cong are said to be holding the Montagnard in bondage. The troops are the first Americans to be in this area, and are shown chopping their way through grass. More than 1,500 of the tribesmen will be rescued before the Operation is concluded.
Helicopters are shown landing with wounded, at a Dak To field hospital. Then, wounded are shown being flown from field hospital to base hospital. This method of evacuation has saved many lives.
BEN CAT - LONG THAHN - the 1st Infantry Division is taking part in Phase 1 of tactical exercise Lexington, April 17-28, 1966. It's a search & destroy operation. The men are shown marching into heavily Viet Cong territory and moving through jungle. A camp is set up for the night with perimeter defenses, which include trip wire flares. On April 18, 1966 the soldiers reached a palm grove and village. They search then rest. On April 19, 1966 they march back to the LZ. Helicopters pick them up and take them back to base. The next day they are ordered elsewhere, to Mangrove swamps as Phase II begins. They have to search the snake-infested muddy swamps for Viet Cong. A trail is found and a trap is set.
Soldiers are shown in neck-deep muddy water, in a boat on the Saigon river, and back at base airing clothes and cleaning weapons, BBQing, & mail call.
BAN BRIENG - At the end of March 1966 a recon patrol of the 25th Infantry Division captures 4 Viet Cong. Also at Ban Brieng, there is an attempt to salvage a crashed Skyraider aircraft, via a Sikorsky CH-54 "flying crane."
CAMP CAI CAI - Vietnamese civilian workers are working on construction projects at this special forces camp. Special forces soldiers put up a memorial plaque "In Memory of Captain Leo Michael Donker" a fallen Commanding Officer. Camp Cai Cai is mostly Vietnamse special forces personnel called "Strikers" they are shown at reveille. Camp defenses are explain & US Special Forces are shown firing an M20 75mm recoilless rifle.
AN KHE - there is just 1 pure water point for the 1st Air Cav here, and their supporting units. The Army Engineers process river water for use. Downriver is a wash point, where vehicles and other items are washed in the Song Ba river. The helicopter port ("Golf Course") on base is always busy. There are various types of helicopters and salvaged crashed helicopters here. Vietnam HWY 70 runs through camp and it is being improved.
CAM RAHN BAY - A convalescent center is being built on Baker Beach; medics are helping the engineers build it. It's going to help take some pressure off the overworked hospital at Na Trang 30 miles Northward up the coast.
WILDFLECKEN, GERMAMY - The Ground Surveillance Qualification Course (GSQC), an advanced test for radar men (3rd Armored Division), is being given in Germany. Patches and trophies are awarded for excellence.
OPERATION SOUTHERN ARROW, GERMANY - At the beginning of May, more than 4,000 men of the US Army and US Air Force participate in one of the largest airborne operations since World War II. It's delayed by bad weather by 1 day but 2,000 men "hit the silk" on May 8, 1966. Many shots of paratroopers. Director of the Exercise, Brigadier General Charles M. Gettys - 8th Infantry Division Assistant Commanding General - is pleased.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK CITY - On May 15, 1966 a bust of Brigadier General Sylvanus Thayer will be installed in the Hall of Fame. Omar N. Bradley is one of the many dignitaries at the ceremonies. The bust will be an addition to the 93 busts of Great Americans in the Hall. After the unveiling Major General Donald B. Bennett delivers the tribute. General Bradley delivers the keynote address and receives the first Thayer Medal.